ITAC’s Partnership Program aims to provide opportunities for networking and potential partnerships between young IT companies and established ICT firms. It will also provide a great forum for meeting other emerging companies in the IT sector and learn about innovative technologies, solutions for your business or opportunities to partner to do business with government.
Thursday, March 26 – 2015
- John Breakey, CEO, GeNUIT
- Stephen Eyre, Director IoT Ecosystem, Telus
- Kevin Craft, VP Consulting Services & Application Solutions Sales, Eastern
- Canada, Fujitsu Canada
- Martin Byrne, Director, Inbound Innovation, Rogers Communications
Small and medium-sized businesses looking for opportunities to connect with three of Canada’s largest ICT companies were provided detailed partnership roadmaps during a recent ITAC members-only event held at Rogers Communications in downtown Toronto.
“Not only were our members shown the front door, it was like they were given the entry passcode,” said ITAC Vice-President Denise Shortt. “The representatives from Telus, Rogers Communications and Fujistsu Canada offered a detailed explanation of their current priorities and the conditions that need to be in place for an agreement. John Breakey of GeNUIT, provided some overall observations that would apply to partnerships across the sector.
- Large companies will not consider solutions or partners that are unproven. SMEs need to come to the table with measureable results.
- SMEs should look for a champion or sponsor inside the company they are trying to partner with.
- Only tackle one or two projects to get started. Build your reputation by delivering results
- Decide on the business model you want to pitch before the first meeting. Are you a subcontractor or a reseller or something else.
- Make sure you are sure whose brand is going to be used going to market. You need an agreement earlier in the discussions so there are no “ruffled feathers” late in the process.
- Sales people don’t like to sell new things. They don’t want to take risks with existing customers. Understand the value of your innovation, not just to the end user, but to the partner and the sales staff. Target the early adopters in the sales staff. When they have success, the rest of the sales team will follow.
- Make sure you have an agreement on sales targets and a rep at the company you can contact if something seems to be going off course
- Big companies shy away from investor phase firms. All intellectual property issues/agreements must be stabilized prior to a partnership approach
- Next to Health IT, Telus is focusing on Internet of Things technologies and services
- Late last year Telus opened an Internet of Things marketplace. It will continue to evolve and expects to have two or three offering in each of the multiple categories now in place. It will be a channel for large and small companies to come to market. More categories will be added as partnerships warrant.
- A partner needs to offer something cool and be prepared to work on lead generation with Rogers.
- The tone of partnership will be peer-to-peer. Ensuring both parties can make money is foundational to any agreement.
- Rogers will partner with several companies in the same space and let the market decide which is best
- Rogers is interested in growth, leveraging assests to focus on making money by adding value to the customer.
- Fujitsu is a big player in the sector that has kept a low profile
- Seventy per cent of the business is public sector. The company wants to grow the remaining 30 per cent
- Business applications and infrastructure services are Fujitsu’s core business, but it does work in financial service and insurance, oil and gas, retail and manufacturing
- Big data, mobility, security and the cloud are priority partnership areas.
- Partnerships are evaluated on fit with the existing company profile and focus on sustainability over the long haul. The company “does not push everything to everyone.”
- Size is not as important as track record.
- Partners will be required to work closely with the company’s sales and marketing teams
- Partnership arrangements are negotiated out of the company’s Toronto and Ottawa offices. The Vancouver office will deal with retail opportunities.
- Exclusivity is the norm, but there have been exceptions.
- Rogers created the Office of Inbound Innovation recently to reach out to the innovation ecosystem to see what’s emerging in the ICT and media spaces.
- Rogers isn’t looking for specific acquisitions. It is looking for solutions that solve problems and address pain points.
- Partners must be clear on the target market for their idea/innovation.
- Rogers top six areas of focus: The family, millennials, sports, small business owners, enterprise and media
- The most likely partners are commercial ready and have reference clients
- “We’re into cool. We look at the bright and shiny things and then we decide if there is a fit by looking at the timing and if we have the right sales channel.”
- The company will evangelize for its partners. In some instances it will fund proof of concept opportunities.